tv BBC World News America PBS May 16, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm PDT
america." >> that we are reporting from washington. ratko mladic goes on trial in the hague for atrocities in the bosnian war. president bashar al-assad goes on russian television to defend the syrian government. four years ago, and beijing basked in the olympic spotlight. the legacy of those games is still controversial. " china promised the games and would transform the lives of ordinary people. there are serious doubts as to whether anything has changed at all. >> welcome to our viewers on pbs
in america and around the globe. the man who once held the terrified residents of sarajevo in the palm of his hand stood in the hague today accused of 11 counts of war crimes and genocide. ratko mladic was the much feared commander in a war that killed 100,000 people. it has taken 20 years to bring him to trial. >> the living on behalf of the dead came to the hague seeking justice. theirs has been a long wait. there was something of the old ratko mladic in court today. he seemed -- he did not speak, but he listened, focusing closely throughout. he commanded the bosnian serb army as it drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.
>> said they were loaded in groups of five -- they were voted in groups of five into a bus. it was driven to a field and as the men were forced off the bus, they could see the bodies of those killed before them. they were murdered as they left the bus. >> of the war was not a spontaneous eruption of ethnic hatred. it was well orchestrated and crucially state-sponsored. ratko mladic was at the heart. the prosecutor said he was also responsible for the 44 month siege of sarajevo. snipers kept the people in his state of terror. the shelling was in
discriminant. the court heard a recording from 1994 ratko mladic boasting. at this point, the general appeared to suppress a laugh. there was no planning to the gallery this time. we can expect a vigorous defense of his own actions and of the honor of the serbs. >> for more on the significance of today's trial, i was joined from new york by a foreign affairs columnist for reuters. he won the pulitzer prize for is reporting -- for his reporting. thank you, thank you for joining me.
>> this is a very important trial. i was in bosnia last month and i was astonished at the continued denial from average serbs about what happened during the war. there are 5000 victims buried there. they're still identifying the bodies. local serbs insist that it did not happen. they see ratko mladic as a pawn of an international conspiracy. >> when you returned from bosnia last month, genocide should not be rewarded -- is that what appears to what happened? >> to date is a very important day, a positive day. international justice is moving forward. it has moved forward very slowly in a haphazard manner in bosnia. the town is half moslem, half
serb -- muslim, have served. there is an upcoming election. that arrangement no longer exist. this is part of the drawing back in bosnia. there is a chance that serbs will gain political control of the town. even as he is going on town, what muslims called genocide by balladur is going -- by ballots is going on in bosnia. >> is this one of those situations where whatever we hear from the course of this trial, mines will not be changed back in bosnia? -- minds will not be changed back in bosnia? >> maybe it will take another generation to look at the evidence that comes out of these
trials and to face what happened. it is very important to do it for history's sake. it is invaluable that he is there and facing justice. >> for the families of people lost people during the siege of sarajevo, did they feel that some sort of justice is finally being done? >> they are frustrated it has taken so long. i heard this from an execution survivor. he blamed only ratko mladic, not all serbs for these killings. that is crucial. these trials to create a sense of justice for the victims. these facts will help stabilize the balkan. >> david, thank you. convicted war criminal and former liberian president charles taylor delivered a strident defense of his actions.
addressing judges of the court which recently found him guilty, he charged it was all a conspiracy. we have this report. >> for a 64-year-old man facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in jail, it was a remarkably composed performance. the main theme of what could be charles taylor's last 30 minutes in the limelight was that he was the victim of a conspiracy led by the united states. >> a conspiracy was born, all systems put into motion, and here i stand today. i never stood a chance. >> the former liberian president once again insisted on his innocence, saying he would never have supported the rebels who committed atrocities. in stark contrast to guilty judgment, he said he had been working for peace in sierra
leone. >> what i did to help bring peace to sierra leone was done with honor. >> his speech will not change what happened in the sierra leone capital in 1999. the former president of liberia help plan an attempted takeover by rebels. the widespread atrocities committed at the time included the amputation of innocent civilians limbs, murder and rape. the judges have left no doubt that they think charles taylor knew about these atrocities. >> in relation to an assessment -- in-line >> the prosecution has called for mr. taylor to be given 80 years in jail. the defense says that is excessive. vinyl sentencing will take place in two weeks' time. -- final sentencing will take
place in two weeks' time. >> from bosnia to sierra leone, it was a very busy day at the international criminal court. the united nations monitors left a town in northern syria today, a day after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb. amid the continued violence, president bashar al-assad grant is first television interview this year. he told russian television that his government was fighting terrorists. >> slowly, carefully, the u.n. observers astounded by tuesday's attacks -- stranded by tuesday's attacks. their convoy was hit by an explosive device. images that reinforced the sense of a mission limping along, a mission that is unable to stop serious mounting bloodshed. there are -- syria's mounting bloodshed.
the number of observers is growing every day. but so, too, is the death toll. these pictures from the internet apparently show at the moment the government forces opened fire at a funeral. activist said at the 20 people were killed, many more when did. emergency treatment was given at a building nearby. the explosion goes off. now all about -- and none of the u.n. staff was injured. this was another violent blow for the peace plan. >> that kind of violence is obviously the kind of violence we do not want to see.
my reminder to anyone and everyone using violence against the syrian people or against the international community represented by the observers on the ground, should refrain from doing that. it is not going to contribute constructively. >> people say -- >> president bashar al-assad chose state television in russia for his first media interview. he said that what he calls the splendid relations that had with non-western countries were helping it to cope. he claimed the authorities have captured foreign mercenaries fighting in syria. he also claimed the majority of the syrians still supports his regime. this is the price paid for not supporting it and treating the
wounded. these pictures released by the medical charity show makeshift clinic in northern syria. destroyed by government forces. >> president bashar al-assad defending his government on russian television. greece's new caretaker prime minister has been sworn in as the country struggles to deal with its massive debt crisis. the senior judge takes up the position. he will oversee the period before new elections are held on june 17. the united nations refugee agency says fighting in democratic republic of congo between the army and -- has forced tens of thousands of people to flee into neighboring states. more than 8000 have been registered in rwanda.
franz's new prime minister has taken up his post today -- france's new prime minister has taken up his post today. francois hollande hold discussions with germany on the euro zone crisis. to a medical advance in the united states. two patients paralyzed from the neck down have been able to control a robotic arm using their thoughts. the action was made possible by a sensor implanted in the b rain connected to a computer. >> you are watching something extraordinary. kathy hutchinson is controlling robotic arm with her thoughts. notes is the box which is screwed onto our heads. that is linked directly to a sensor and her -- in her brain.
this is the first time in 15 years she has served yourself a drink. -- herself a drink. she cannot talk, but was able to communicate this message. i cannot believe my eyes when i was able to drink coffee without help. the key to the technology is this tiny sensor. it is implanted on the surface of the brain. when the patient thinks about moving their arm, neurons are activated and the electrical signals are picked up by the sensor and sent to a computer, which turns them into command. these are what those signals look like when directing the drink to the patients lips. >> there was a moment of truth joy.
beyond the fact that it was an accomplishment. an important advance in the entire field. it was a moment or we helped somebody do something they had not wished to do for many years. >> this is the implant. >> at this tiny sensor was inserted into the arm of this robotics expert a decade ago as part of an earlier trial. it enabled him to control a robotic claw. the technology could give independence to paralyzed patients. >> this will allow people to do things for themselves. open doors, drive themselves around in a wheelchair. >> the scientist hope to use the sensor to reconnect the brain direct to paralyzed lamps. that is a distant dream.
-- paralyzed limbs. this is a distant dream. >> you are watching "bbc world news america." presidential politics kicks into high gear in new york. this time, it is the dominican republic which is taking center stage. in south sudan, there has been a dire warning from the united nations that more than half the population faces food shortages. the conflict would sedan is ongoing and the rainy season is fast approaching. -- with sudan, and the rainy season is fast approaching. " the mobilization continues. the fighting has died down in the last couple of weeks, but no one believes the problems are
over. in january, south sudan shut down its own oil production. the sudanese president said last month's clashes make it difficult to go back. " they say they will destroy sudan. but we are the ones to determine it will will be reopened. we will not break open the pipeline unless there is a guarantee. >> refugees continue to arrive, a fling civil wars over the border. they're often -- fleeing civil war is over the border. they're often malnourished. these people are adding to a growing crisis. the oil shutdown has hit the economy extremely hard.
aid agencies are warning that the rainy season is gone to make helping the most vulnerable even more difficult. ordinary people are suffering. for the moment, that seems a long way off. >> new york city, it is no stranger to passionate politics. there is a fierce debate ranging between the supporters of two presidential candidates. we're not talking about obama versus mitt romney. it is the dominican republic presidential contest being held this weekend. it is playing out miles away. the votes of those living in the manhattan neighborhood of washington heights could tip the election balcombe.
-- back home. ♪ >> the music is dominican. but this political rally is taking place in new york. more than 100,000 people are registered to vote in sunday's dominican republic president election. >> we are very close to our culture. even if we are in different places. >> politics is like this music for us. it is something traditional, like sports. it is in our blood. >> there are pragmatic reasons for getting involved, too. we want to make sure that things are going well. >> dominicans in new york remain attached to their culture of origin. they are becoming more influential.
washington heights in manhattan is the heart of the dominican community. both candidates in the presidential election have campaigned here. in a close race, every vote from the u.s. could be crucial. >> there is no possibility of buying off anyone. that is why our votes are hard to get. >> but the community in washington heights is targeting washington, d.c. he started his political career in his neighborhood -- in this neighborhood. he could become the first dominican american congressmen. >> this particular election is about defining what we will do in the next 10 or 20 years. what will we do as a country? we have the diverse population,
an immigrant public populate -- an immigrant population that is growing. >> its is a shift that could challenge the black congressman who has represented this area for decades. whatever the results, dominican american voters are enjoying their new-found influence in both countries. >> in just over two months, athletes and spectators from around the world will travel to london for the start of the olympic games. four years ago, the spectacle took place in beijing. after the fanfare was over, how much to the game's changed china? -- how much did the game's changed china? >> a sporting legacy from a different age. tai chi has been practiced in china for centuries, long before the modern olympics were born. a time when this country was
less worried about its place in the world. the beijing games were supposed to mark a turning point in history. a carefully choreographed displayed designed to announce modern china's arrival on the global stage. the former gymnast was the man asked to provide the thrilling climax to the opening ceremonies. i asked him why the games were so important. >> [speaking chinese] >> these days, the bird's nest
stadium is more prized for its architecture that sporting credentials. it hosts concerts' and but it iss i matches, mostly a tourist attraction. these children are among the privileged few, learning to swim in one of the olympic poles. the aquatics center has been more successful. away from the iconic avenue, there is clear evidence of china's legacy failure. the beach volleyball or arena is barely used and has seen better days. the bird's nest was designed not only as an olympic stadium, but as a lasting symbol of china's emergence as a global superpower. china also promised the games would transform the lives of ordinary people. for years on, there are serious doubts as to whether anything
has changed at all. some even argue that in human rights, china has gone backward. the wit -- his view on the games is telling. >> remembered as a city quickly being forgotten. if you ask people about the olympics, people cannot say anything proud about it. >> officials here will tell you a different story. one of the man in charge of beijing's legacy planning, he says the olympics about a profound and lasting impact. >> [speaking chinese]
>> chinese people are still deeply proud of the way beijing used the games to send a powerful message to the world. london will not be able to match that, but will ultimately be judged on whether it can deliver something more enduring than a two-week show. >> every four years, the olympics takes over a country. that brings up to today's show to a close. you can get updates on our website as well. if you would like to reach me, you can find us all on twitter. thank you so much for watching.
>> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> this is kim -- about to feel one of his favorite sensations. at shell, we're developing more efficient fuels in countries like malaysia that can help us get the most from our energy resources. let's use energy more efficiently. let's go.
(george chattering excitedly) this program was made possible by: >> chuck e. cheese's, proud supporter of pbs kids, who know of all the things a kid can learn, one of the most important is learning to laugh. pbs kids, where a kid can be a kid. for over 90 years, stride rite's been there, from the first wobbly walk to the first day of school, helping you choose the right shoes. stride rite is a proud sponsor of curious george. funding for curious george is provided by contributions to your pbs station... ooh. ...and from: (lively drum intro) ♪ you never do know what's around the bend ♪ ♪ big adventure or a brand-new friend ♪ ♪ when you're curious like curious george ♪
♪ swing! ♪ ♪ well, every day ♪ every day ♪ ♪ is so glorious ♪ glorious ♪ george! ♪ and everything ♪ everything ♪ ♪ is so wondrous ♪ wondrous ♪ ♪ there's more to explore when you open the door ♪ ♪ and meet friends like this, you just can't miss ♪ ♪ i know you're curious ♪ curious ♪ ♪ and that's marvelous ♪ marvelous ♪ ♪ and that's your reward ♪ you'll never be bored ♪ if you ask yourself, "what is this?" ♪ ♪ like curious... ♪ like curious... curious george. ♪ oh... captioning sponsored by nbc/universal narrator george loved the museum. every time he went, he discovered something new. the new north pole exhibit was frosty fun with its igloos and polar bears.